Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

It’s not often that the Hard route on these pages dips below the 30km mark. But then there aren’t that many places in the UK that mile for mile can compare with the Dark Peak. Where else can you cram so much superb mtb’ing into what appears, at first glance at least, to be a fairly short outing?
This is Peak riding at its very finest. The Hope Valley could stake a valid claim for being at the very heart of British mtb’ing, and the trails that link it with nearby Edale and the Limestone plateau above the Peak Forest only add to the occasion.
The descents are truly wonderful: with some great singletrack on the side of Mam Tor; a real rock fest on the drop from Rushup; more greasy lumps of jagged limestone than you could ever dream of on the run down Cavedale; and a spectacular big dipper all the way back into Edale at the end.
Yet amazingly, the climbs are eminently manageable: firstly on a mixture of surfaces that glide gently across the hillside from Greenlands to Hollins Cross, then up onto Rushup Edge, which will probably prove the real crux. The next grapple with gravity comes on tarmac: it’s slow but at least you can stay in the saddle. And then the pull up Oxlow Rake is on a good surface and takes staying power rather than brute strength or fitness. The grand finale winds its way carefully through the spooky devastation of the Mam Tor road with just the odd techie challenge thrown in.
The directions given here start from Edale but it could just as easily be started from either Hope or Castleton if you’d prefer.